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Kitten is scratching his neck until raw...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have six kittens that I’ve been raising since they were one week old. The mom is still around, but she developed an infection in the abdomen which ceased the production of milk. All kittens have been successfully weaned off the bottle for about two weeks and the replacement milk for about a week. The kittens are now eating two cans of Iams Kitten wet food (85g) a day, plus a plate of Iams Kitten dry food with respect to the recommended daily intake.

About a week ago I noticed that the smallest of the kittens (and the only boy!) was developing some sort of scab on his neck. At first I thought it might be ringworm, so I made an appointment for this upcoming Wednesday to have it checked by my vet. However, a couple of days ago I noticed a behaviour that might explain the injury: whenever he eats his food, be it wet or dry, he’ll take a few bites and then start to clutch at his face/neck. He’ll growl a couple of times, and then he’ll go back to his plate to start all over again.

I’ve called the vet since making the appointment in order to explain my new concern, but was told that as long as he is eating, sleeping, and using the litter correctly (which he is), I could wait until Wednesday. In the meantime, I’ve tried numerous ways to keep his nails away from his face but with no avail; from holding his front paws to making a makeshift cone to put around his neck. The skin underneath his neck is dry and red; I’ve been keeping the area clean and moisturized using a mixture of aloe vera and polysporin (vet recommended).

Has anyone here ever encountered such behaviour before? I read about some cats developing allergies to their food; my kitten only started to behave this way when he started to eat either the wet or dry food. But before that behaviour developed I was feeding him a mixture of the wet food and milk replacement when he was being weaned off the bottle. And he doesn’t scratch between meals. Is it possible then that the consistency of the food is causing a problem? Perhaps if it had more of a liquid form, he might be able to lap up his meal and not feel as though all his food is getting stuck between his teeth. Would it be recommendable to mix the wet food with water to give it a more liquid form? Thank you!
post #2 of 10
We will be more able to help with that info.
post #3 of 10
Stop feeding him the Iams right now, and try something else that has a different protein source. That will tell you if he is allergic to the Iams.

Vet receptionists that decide how soon a cat needs to see the vet annoy me greatly. A kitten's health is so delicate. My unsolicited advice on that is to not let yourself be put off.

And here's a tip. Vets keep spots open for emergencies, spots that cannot be filled until the day of. If you are concerned that kitten's wounds are becoming infected, call this morning and insist on being seen today.

Welcome, and please keep us updated.
post #4 of 10
You can get some stop-itch spray, but I don't know anything about using it on a kitten.

Have you checked THOROUGHLY for fleas? I have discovered they can be very crafty little buggers and hide well on tiny kittens. The neck is a hot spot for fleas, and this guy could just be more sensative to them then they other kittens.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the replies. "Mr. Darcy" is six weeks old today. He's the only one exhibiting this kind of behaviour from amongst his sisters. I'm going to buy another brand of kitten food and see how that helps. But I don't believe he has fleas; not that I won't check, but he's only been scratching himself during meals. Also, none of the other kittens are behaving like this. Still, I'll check for fleas just so that I can at least cross that out as a reason for him hurting himself.
post #6 of 10
Sorry! I missed the "only at meals" - yeah, I'd try a new food . I wonder if it's behavioural or neurological though?
post #7 of 10
I would try the food but it does sound behavioral or neurological in nature.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Update on little Darcy:

I think it was just the consistency of the food I was feeding him. I broke up the dry food into tinier pieces and mixed the wet food with water for a more diluted snack he can just lap up. No more scratching!
post #9 of 10
I'd keep a good eye on him as he grows up, that is strange behaviour.

Maybe he has something wrong with this teeth?
Either pain or was getting food stuck between them?
He could even have been teething if he didn't do it for long.

post #10 of 10
I wonder if, being the smallest, he just wasn't quite ready for the larger pieces yet. He may just need a little time to catch up to his sisters.
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